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Wolff wary of Red Bull's improvement

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Good start: Lewis Hamilton celebrates victory in Bahrain

Good start: Lewis Hamilton celebrates victory in Bahrain

AP

Good start: Lewis Hamilton celebrates victory in Bahrain

Mercedes boss Toto Wolff has warned that Lewis Hamilton's sublime drive to victory in Bahrain should not disguise the fact that Red Bull currently have the fastest car.

Hamilton produced a defensive masterclass in the final few laps to beat Max Verstappen to the chequered flag at the first race of the new season.

But Verstappen headed into Sunday's race off the back of a practice clean sweep and finished almost four tenths faster than Hamilton in qualifying.

He then looked primed to win in the closing stages only to perform an illegal move on Hamilton, conceding the place to his rival, and crossing the line just 0.7 seconds adrift.

"If somebody told me before Sunday that a Mercedes win was going to be the result, I would not have believed them," said Wolff.

"We recovered well from the pre-season test but, if we are 100 per cent honest with ourselves, we are lacking quite a bit of pace in qualifying.

"In the past, Bahrain has not been a strong race for Red Bull and they have not been particularly good out of the blocks either, but this weekend shows that in 2021, that is no longer the case."

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Following a hectic season opener, the sport will breathe for three weeks before the next round in Imola on April 18, and Wolff added: "I have no doubt they are extremely difficult to beat and are leading the pack.

"We have not suddenly found some awesome performance, but the win was a combination of good race strategy, a solid race car and being fortunate at the end. The racing gods were on our side."


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